New study indicates stigma regarding weight loss 'may be overstated'

18 February 2016

A new study has indicated that obese people who lose weight do not generally need to be worried about stigmatisation for their change in physique.

North Carolina State University has carried out research into this trend after previous studies indicated that people may judge thin individuals more harshly if they know they used to be overweight.

To assess the veracity of this residual stigmatisation, in-depth interviews were conducted with 17 men and 13 women, all of whom self-identified as being of normal weight, having previously been obese.

An overwhelming number of participants said they had not perceived any stigma related to their weight loss, with most feeling the response to their weight loss was very positive. Most participants were open about their weight loss for various reasons, such as a desire to inspire others, or to make themselves feel more accountable and keep the weight off.

However, a few were reluctant to talk about their weight loss so as not to appear boastful, while a small minority did fear a residual stigma.

Study author Lynsey Romo, an assistant professor of communication at NC State, said: "Based on this work, the residual stigma discussed in earlier research may be overstated, or at least most people who have lost weight don't perceive a biased response in their day-to-day interactions."

Posted by Philip Briggs


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